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Briefcase: Business Snippets from around South Australia

In this week’s briefcase, Koonenberry Gold receives final approval for its NSW drilling project, Rex Minerals looks to raise almost $30 million, Vodafone customers make 2.97 billion calls in 2023 and Australia’s share market index belies predictions.

Jan 22, 2024, updated Jan 22, 2024
A sample of the rock chip that returned a 15.3 percent copper rating.

A sample of the rock chip that returned a 15.3 percent copper rating.

Gold and copper found in north-western NSW

Australian mineral exploration company Koonenberry Gold Limited has received final approval for its drilling program at Atlantis Au-Cu Prospect, located 160km north-east of Broken Hill in north-western New South Wales.

The site has high grade copper of 15.3 per cent and gold chip results of 0.84 grams per tonne. It also has a 6.5km long area of soil with indications of gold, copper, antimony and ardenite.

The first ever drilling program at the site of around 6,000m is planned following the summer months.

“We are pleased to inform our shareholders that all approvals for the Atlantis drilling are now in place. As soon as weather conditions permit, the Company will mobilise the drill rig to conduct first pass Air Core drilling,” said Koonenberry Gold Limited Managing Director Dan Power.

Charlie Gilchrist

Rex Minerals to raise nearly $30m

Australian investment firm MACH Investment Enterprise (MIE) has taken an $11.8 million stake in Rex Minerals as part of a broader capital raise for the Rundle Mall-based company.

The company was looking to raise $29.8 million via a strategic placement from MIE and an entitlement offer for shareholders. As of 18 January, the company completed the strategic placement from MIE and secured $3.7 million in funds from an entitlement offer to institutional shareholders – $2.3 million of which was a shortfall and allocated to MIE as sub-underwriter.

MIE is owned by Droxford International, itself a subsidiary of Indonesia-based Salim Group – one of the nation’s largest multinational companies with interests including mining, food, agribusiness, retail, telecommunication, property, hotels and insurance.

The company said it would use the funds for “working capital purposes”.

“We are excited to welcome MIE as a new and cornerstone investor. MIE is an ideal equity partner for Rex. It understands the sector and shapes our long view on future facing commodities in Australia, starting with the development of the Hillside Copper-Gold Project,” Rex CEO and managing director Richard Laufmann said.

“With a significant and strategic coalition of partners, Rex can continue to execute on its vision to grow and become the next significant and near-term mid-cap Australian copper producer.”

– David Simmons

Vodafone customers made 2.97 billion phone calls in 2023

Vodafone users made a total of 2.79 billion phone calls last year, according to data released by the company on the downloading, talking and texting patterns of postpaid customers in Australia.

With a daily calling habit observed in over two million customers, the Vodafone network averages around 7.94 million calls daily throughout the year. The peak month for phone calls was May, with 383 million calls.

Customers on average made 27 calls each week with 2.9 minutes per call. The most talkative hour of the week was at 5pm on Thursdays.

The average Vodafone customer was a heavy data user, consuming 25 gigabytes per month, 57 per cent more than the national average. There was an 18 per cent increase in average data usage compared to 2022. 4G remained dominant with 66 per cent of users but 5G has doubled in network usage since last year, constituting 33 per cent of total mobile usage.

Sharni McPhail

Share market index belies predictions

The Australian Shareholders’ Association (ASA) has released new data revealing a more positive 2023 calendar year for shareholders than was expected.

The S&P/ASX 200, which is a measure of the Australian share market index, increased 7.8 per cent in 2023 to 7,591. This is an improvement from December 29, 2022 with a peak close of 7,558.

ASA CEO Rachel Waterhouse said that the result was impressive given the supply chain issues faced by companies in 2023, as well as interest rate rises and cost-of-living pressures on consumers.

“Last year’s performance highlights the importance of diversification in a portfolio,” she said.

“It is also important to remember that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

“The companies that performed well in the past year may not do as well in the future, and vice versa.”

The top five performing companies in 2023 were Neuren Pharmaceuticals Limited, Emerald Resources NL, James Hardie Industries Plc and Boral Limited.

The worst-performing companies were Core Lithium Ltd, Chalice Mining Limited, The Star Entertainment Group Limited, Sayona Mining Limited and Healius Limited.

Charlie Gilchrist 

Unclaimed Goods Act of 1987 under review

Any changes to the act will be aimed at making it easier for South Australians and businesses to sell or dispose of goods left unclaimed.

“There should be a clear, simple, and fair process for people to follow so they no longer have responsibility for them,” said Kyam Maher, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector.

The current three-month waiting period before disposal is considered cumbersome, particularly for abandoned cars at mechanic shops.

Motor Trade Association SA/NT CEO, Darrell Jacobs welcomed the state government’s review and hoped it would address the current situation where automotive service and repair businesses are being used as a “dumping ground” for unwanted cars.

“Even after years of unanswered calls, letters and emails to a previous owner, businesses are left with red-tape nightmares and disposal costs well in excess of the vehicle’s value,” he said.

The proposed changes seek to simplify the process, reduce unnecessary costs and offer a clear, fair method for handling unclaimed goods while still protecting owners’ rights.

“No one wants to be stuck holding onto or storing things for extended periods that they don’t want and that don’t belong to them,” Kyam Maher said.

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Sharni McPhail

Best digital marketing practice for SMEs

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has released a guide for small businesses and digital marketing providers.

“Digital platforms have fundamentally changed how small businesses connect and sell to their customers and enable them to reach a significant portion of Australian and international markets,” former Australian Government Cabinet Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson said.

Recent research commissioned by the ombudsman found one in three small businesses end up in a dispute with their digital marketing providers and 70 per cent of small businesses switch providers within 12 months.

Disputes often arise due to a lack of communication and a lack of digital literacy with small businesses not fully understanding the services provided and digital marketing providers failing to communicate risks and details transparently.

The guide maintains the importance of clear communication and understanding expectations between the parties and provides actionable tips for small businesses to receive better service and build a successful partnership with digital marketing providers.

A guide for digital marketing providers to better understand the needs of small businesses has also been released.

The guide encourages businesses to conduct due diligence before engaging with providers by researching their capabilities and aligning them with their business needs.

The best practice guides are available on the ASBFEO website.

Sharni McPhail

TAFE to offer new out-of-school-hours care course

A new qualification, the Certificate III in Out-of-School-Hours Care, has been introduced by Education Minister Blair Boyer.

It aims to strengthen the skills of those wanting to work in the education sector and support children’s well-being and development outside of school hours. The course is delivered over 18 months through online delivery and face-to-face workshops.

“We want every South Australian family to have access to high-quality out-of-school care”, said Boyer.

“We have acted on the recommendation by the Gillard Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care to modernise OSHC qualifications and address workforce challenges so more South Australian families can access out-of-school care.”

Alicia Flowers from OSHC SA, who is Director of Torrensville Primary School OSHC said that the program serves to provide educators with skills to support children’s well-being and development in the context of an approved learning framework.

“OSHC SA has been advocating for the introduction of this qualification to support people to build a career in the OSHC sector, and to help address the workforce shortage faced by OSHC services right around the State,” she said.

The new course will be offered from Semester 1 2024.

Estee Loke

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